From her stint as one of the first stars of Comedy Central’s since-shuttered program @midnight to subsequently scoring her own stand-up special and late night show with the cable channel, Nikki Glaser has stood out as one of comedy’s best and brightest. Sadly Not Safe with Nikki Glaser was canceled in less than a year, a decision that both the comic and the cable outlet has since regretted. Thanks to an opportunity with Comedy Central Radio at SiriusXM (Channel 95) and some friendly advice from fellow comedian Craig Ferguson, however, Glaser is set to debut Not Safe‘s spiritual sequel with You Up.
Set to premiere February 26th and run every Monday through Thursday from 10 am to noon ET/7 to 9 am PT, You Up with Nikki Glaser will feature Glaser and friend Tom Thakkar carrying the Not Safe torch live from New York. From oversharing about their personal lives and getting and giving perspective on dating and sex, to dissecting pop culture and trying to understand the news, the pair’s new program is the second original radio show to debut on Comedy Central’s SiriusXM channel. It’s also housed in the same building as Howard Stern‘s seminal program, about which Glaser is really excited.
How did You Up come about? Did Comedy Central approach you, or did you approach them?
I caught wind that Comedy Central was looking to do a morning radio show on their SiriusXM channel. I’m a fan of SiriusXM and Howard Stern, and I was doing a lot of appearances on Craig Ferguson’s show at the time. He was the first person to put it in my head that I should be doing radio. He said, “You should have your own show!” It made sense. I’ve done podcasts since I was a wee child and I do radio every weekend whenever I’m on the road promoting my stand-up. It’s just something that has always come easy to me, and it’s a medium that I enjoy consuming even more than TV.
Craig’s advice coincided with me hearing about Comedy Central’s wanting a show, so I called SiriusXM and I said, “I’ll do that morning show if you guys are still looking for a host.” They told me Comedy Central had a couple of names they were considering, but I insisted I was going to do it. I basically demanded it because I knew they had really loved Not Safe despite its cancellation. That was something we both regretted letting go of. I actually had a hand in canceling it. We both kind of stepped away from it, and we were both looking for an opportunity to work together again. Well they laughed, said they would consider my offer, and thanked me for my moxie.
Then I got a call less than two weeks later that they wanted me to do the show. I’ve spent my whole career feeling undeserving of the things I’ve accomplished. I feel like I’ve tricked my way into things, or that I’ve convinced people I’m talented when I’m actually not. It’s a feeling that a lot of women in this business have. But I’ve been doing this for so long that I now know what I’m good at. I know what I can offer and it seemed like a no-brainer for both sides. They’ve been great to work with. It’s nice to get a show and then hear them say, “Okay, what do you want to do?” Having that question precede everything has been wonderful. I didn’t even pitch them a specific show. They just gave me one and said I could do whatever I wanted, and they’ve been really supportive of what I decided to do.
Based on the description, it sounds like a radio sequel to what you were doing with Not Safe.
I know where my strengths lie and I’ve been pretty open about my personal life. I like to talk about meeting people, sex, relationships, and pop culture. This is basically a mixture of Nikki & Sara Live, a show I did on MTV years ago, and Not Safe. I have one of my best friends who I take out on the road with me, Tom Thakkar, as my co-host. He’s basically my second chair in this, and we’re just going to do this radio show during the week and hit the road on the weekends. We’re basically a team. We’ve been working together for five years now and we have a great relationship. It’s a great dynamic and I love it. I knew that Tom was someone I could bring in who I could make fun of and, in turn, could make fun of me. We’re pretty good at giving each other shit. And he’s also really emotionally vulnerable, which is so hard to find in most men. That’s what I wanted in a co-host, because I definitely prefer to talk about real stuff and he is able to go there.
I’ve heard you and Tom together on other podcasts before, but I’ve never seen you perform together. Even so, I was sold as soon as I heard his hotel story from a recent tour you two did together.
That’s awesome because you’re going to get that. We will definitely be telling the story of the time he accidentally saw me naked in a hotel. It’s like having your brother see you naked. It’s bound to happen because you’re living in the same places, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward.
You Up is a morning show, and it’s especially early for the West Coast, but stand-up tends to be a late night game. How will you combine the two?
I actually moved to New York so I could wake up three hours later. It’s going to be 10 am to 12 pm. I definitely considered it because I’m out late doing comedy every single night, and I knew that one of them would suffer if I didn’t find a way to either go home early or wake up late. So I came to New York for a visit in December knowing that this show was starting soon, and then I asked SiriusXM if I could do the show from their offices there. They said I could, especially since they have way more space in New York, as well as a full production team, so it worked out for both sides.
I’m a morning person, so once I get up I’m ready to go. I can still be funny on the early side, but I just knew that I would have to turn in pretty early every night back on the West Coast, and I didn’t want to sacrifice my time at night because I’m sometimes out all night doing comedy. So it’s been good to move here. It’s also been tough because I moved here on a whim with just a month’s notice. I literally moved here to wake up three hours later. It’s kind of insane, but those three hours are crucial.
You picked a hell of a time to move here. The winter hasn’t been too bad, but it’s no sunny California.
It’s been really depressing. I actually got into town late one night in January, moved all my stuff in — just the stuff I just brought with me, because the rest of it is still on the way — walked into my fourth-floor walk-up, and cried. My apartment is really tiny and it’s going to be interesting to talk about that on the radio, because I moved here thinking I’m going to have this New York life and it’s going to be exciting. I lived here five years ago and it was great, and then I moved to Los Angeles where there’s room to do a cartwheel in your house if you want to. But here, you can’t even do a jumping jack. It’s just a big shift for me, and walking four floors up and down with two dogs is going to become a big burden.
So yeah, it was a really fun idea to move here. [laughs] But I don’t regret it. No regrets man, though I don’t know if it was worth the three hours. We’ll see. The advantages are that I get to sleep in three more hours and I really wanted to be in the same building as Howard Stern. I think that the SiriusXM building here, where all the radio shows are broadcast from on the east coast, is so awesome. It’s just a really exciting floor to be on. I don’t know, it feels real. It feels better than if I were to have used some adapted studio in Los Angeles. I wanted to jump in and immerse myself in this world. Plus, I really wanted to be on the same floor as Howard Stern. I’m kind of obsessed.
Being in the midst of all that must give you a big boost.
Definitely. It sure does. I’ve been in that building a lot to do press for different things, and it’s just a cool place to be. There are way more celebrities coming in and out of that building than what I’m used to, so maybe we’ll be able to have better guests on. It’s going to make for a different show than it would have been in California, but I also think it’s going to make for a better show.
So how did Tom get involved? Did you just tell him one day, “Hey, you’re going to do this thing with me”?
Pretty much. When they told me I got the show, they immediately asked me who I wanted to do with it? I knew that I wanted my very own Robin Quivers, so I was thinking about potential people when I brought Tom on stage with me during a show I was headlining one weekend. He had just done his bit so I brought him on stage to tell the story about when he saw me naked. It had just happened before that show, and when we were on stage together we had a really great rapport. Before that, I had never really done anything like that with him. We’d hang out backstage and off stage when we were touring together, but we had never performed together. It was really fun and easy, and he made me laugh so hard.
He was just really good, and I just was really impressed by his ability to play off of what I was doing and my ability to do the same. So it all came together at that very moment when we were on stage and I decided we should do this all the time. So I called him up after that performance and told him to move to Los Angeles. He said “okay,” but he had just gotten a girlfriend in New York and was trying to figure out how that was going to work. But when I decided to move to New York instead, I told him “Never mind” and he was like, “Oh thank God!”
I’ve done enough shows and podcasts with co-hosts that I knew what qualities I wanted. I wanted someone who was funny but also inquisitive. Someone who was as interested in my life as they were in talking about theirs, because a lot of times you end up talking to people who don’t ask you questions. For the kind of show we were going to do with You Up, I wanted someone who cared about me, and Tom and I have this great sibling relationship in which we truly care about one another. We want each other to look good, but we also constantly give each other shit.
Just realized the New York move makes sense, because I recently saw you were up for a long stint at Carolines on Broadway in March.
Yeah, there it is.
Speaking of stand-up, you were on the first season of Netflix’s The Standups last year. Do you have another hour in the works?
I actually just gave Netflix an hour for their consideration, to decide if they want to work with me.
You Up with Nikki Glaser will air every Monday through Thursday from 10 am to Noon ET on Comedy Central Radio, Channel 95 on SiriusXM.